- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2006

James H. “Chip” Burrus, who has headed the FBI’s criminal investigative division in an acting capacity since February, has been named as its permanent chief, responsible for coordinating, managing and directing the bureau’s criminal investigative programs nationwide.

“Chip brings an extensive background in criminal investigations and great leadership qualities to the [assistant director] position,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. “He has the skills and vision to lead the intelligence and technology driven work of today’s FBI, and I’m confident he will help us stay a step ahead of new threats and trends in the criminal arena.”

The division focuses on public corruption, violation of civil rights, gangs, organized crime, financial crimes including corporate and health care fraud, violent crimes and victim assistance.

A 23-year FBI veteran, Mr. Burrus recently was among 100 FBI and U.S. law-enforcement officials who attended the second annual Gang Enforcement Conference in San Salvador, which targeted the activities of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. The conference, also attended by top officials from Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, focused on how to combat the gang that has been implicated in numerous slayings throughout the United States.

“What it did for me is it gave me an insight of what the gang looks like, not only in El Salvador and Central American countries but what it perhaps looks like here,” Mr. Burrus said at the time. “How do they make money down there? What is their structure? It helps me be a little more predictive in placing resources.”

With an estimated 10,000 MS-13 gang members in the United States, five times as many in the countries that attended the conference, the FBI has added resources to attack the problem, including the creation of the MS-13 National Gang Task Force and the National Gang Intelligence Center. Last year, the task force coordinated a series of arrests and crackdowns in the U.S. and Central America that led to the arrests of 73 suspects in the United States.

Mr. Burrus joined the FBI as a special agent in 1983 and was assigned to El Paso and Midland, Texas, field offices where he focused on public corruption and bank fraud investigations. After transfer to the Washington field office in 1988, he was promoted and assigned to the attorney general’s security detail where he worked with Edwin Meese III, Richard E. Thornburgh and William P. Barr.

In 1991, he was assigned to the FBI’s Internal Affairs Unit in Washington, where he remained until his promotion and transfer to Orlando, Fla., in 1993, as a supervisory special agent. Mr. Burrus was named the assistant special agent in charge of the Minneapolis division in 1998 and was transferred to FBI headquarters in 2001, where he served as the special assistant to the deputy director.

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